By Mark Weisseg
This car is a 1933 Plymouth with a 427 engine. This car was legally being dragged raced when this picture was taken. I love the car but love the driver more. More about that later. But the smoke you see in the back of the car is of that 427 coming apart. And it did come apart on this run while this picture was taken. It’s really cool to snap a picture of a engine going south while it’s happening and not after. That’s easy. The car is sitting there and all the fluids are leaking and the driver looks sad. So, this car qualifies as a real fast muscle car. That is until the engine went kaboom. But don’t fret, another bigger, badder engine is being built and the drag racing will continue in the summer of this year.
Now, the driver is a bad ass guy. He is a hero of mine. Not because he has a really cool old hot rod. That is only part of it. He is a walking hero because at the tender age of nineteen he got an invitation from our government to fight in war he knew nothing about. So, several medals and Purple Hearts later he came home a man. Then this hot rodder worked in the steel mill at Edgar Thompson Works near Pittsburgh. They call the place hell on earth. Why? Well, the blast furnaces are roaring so hot that you will singe your eyelashes. In the winter the doors are open because trains drive right in the building to pick up there loads. So, it’s so cold you cannot feel your feet. Even with the blast furnaces roaring white heat. So, for this hot rodder his whole life has been upside down, shipped overseas as a kid and told to kill or be killed and once home luckily he worked for over thirty five years in hell. And yet, he has hot rod cars like the rest of us.
He is no spring chicken anymore but you can bet your pink slip he was a walking bad ass in his day. Today, things move a bit slower for our hero. He still comes to all the shows, has a great circle of loyal friends, and has the best female companion God could provide. Now, I will see him soon and that hot rod will be rebuilt.
Am I tempted to take him on with one of my hot rods? No. He’s too cool for me. He would whip my ass and I know it. How amazing is it that a guy who is past his prime is still the coolest guy on the block? I don’t know because I love this guy. When I see his type walking around at the shows with a limp and a patch that they served I am in awe. These guys were fast muscle car cats before I knew what a cylinder head was.
This guy will be a hot rodder until the good lord Pries his cold hands off the steering wheel and that too might be a fight. You see once you are a hot rodder you are one for life. He even has a bad ass son that has a hot rod. I know him well too. He carries the torch for the old man but nobody will ever fill his shoes. So, when you see an old guy at the car cruises this year stop and ask him some questions. Listen to him. You will learn more than you ever imagined about life, fast muscle cars, and how to survive two different hells and still be cool. I love you Jack. Keep on keeping on as we used to say.
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